Bat flips and whether they are ruining baseball or not has been a topic of discussion for a couple of weeks now. Well, more so than usual, anyway -- Bryce Harper discussed how baseball needs more personality, more life, and more fun, how it needs more Cam Newtons around at about the same time Goose Gossage explained why he hates everything including Jose Bautista, and things have sort of spiraled from there.
David Ortiz, noted Bat Flipping Expert, has some words on the whole controversy. While he didn't drop Goose Gossage by name, he referred to his point of view -- one not just held by him -- repeatedly while discussing the emotion and ways of today's baseball player to the Boston Globe's Alex Speier. You should read the entire thing, but let's grab a couple of quotes from it while we're here.
While the whole "take it like a man" thing is eye roll-worthy in any context -- yes, even for Ortiz -- the rest of this quote is worth your time:
"Of course as a pitcher you’re not going to like it if I take you deep, but after I do it, suck it up, man. Take it like a man. I don’t mind anybody doing anything when you strike me out or get myself out. You’re never going to see me criticizing anybody, because you know what? Whatever you do out there, you just motivate me. You just motivate me. If I take you deep and I pimp the [expletive] out of it, that should be motivation for you to try to get me out in my next at-bat, instead of just talking [expletive]. That’s the way I see it," he said.
Ortiz hates when pitchers complain about his bat flips -- remember it was just a few months ago that David Price and Ortiz weren't exactly the best of friends -- so it's good to see him say he wouldn't care if someone pimped their strikeout of him. This is probably my favorite thing from the whole piece, though:
"I respect you as a person. I’m not supposed to go out there and hit you with my baseball bat, but the damn round thing that is coming at me, I’m trying to break it. So all this little crying [expletive] that is going on in the baseball game in today’s day, people need to stop, man. People need to focus on what is good and what is not. If a player is good, let’s enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hitter, pitcher, position player. Good players, enjoy it."
Bat flips are an emotional response, just like a pitcher celebrating a strikeout or the end of an inning or a position player hopping around after making a great catch. Players shouldn't stifle their emotions on the field -- players like Ortiz and Harper want their emotions to be on display, and they aren't afraid of saying so, either. The game could use more personalities like theirs, and it's a shame Ortiz and his influence are exiting the league after 2016. Hopefully, players like Bautista and Harper keep that influence alive and well.
And seriously, read that whole article.